Scott Irving, the associate head coach of the Air Force track and
field team, recently announced his retirement, effective September 30. As the
event coach of the Falcons' throwing team since 1999, Irving has been
instrumental in the team's rise at both the conference and national levels.
"I absolutely loved coaching
at the Academy," Irving said. "No other place holds a candle to USAFA ... it's
not even close. Everyone ... from the coaches and administrators to the
custodians and facility crew ... has helped make this program what it is today.
The cadets have been a real blessing and I will miss them all dearly."
During his tenure at Air Force, Irving has taught numerous classes in
the Academy's physical education department (2000-13), while coaching the pole
vault (2000-03), horizontal jumps (2004-06) and throwing events (2000-13). In
addition, he coordinated the strength and conditioning program for the entire
track and field program from 2000 to 2001.
Irving has also coordinated the officials that volunteer their time to
assist with all Air Force home competitions, as well as other meets held at the
Academy facilities, noting that "they constantly epitomize the ideal of going
above and beyond."
"Scott's been invaluable to this coaching staff for the past 14
seasons," head coach Ralph Lindeman said. "He began his coaching day right
after lunch, every day, by scheduling cadets to come down to work with him
individually, and then was one of the last to leave the field most every
evening. Scott truly gave all his throwers the gift of individualized
instruction, coaching and caring."
Under Irving's direction, Dana Pounds won back-to-back NCAA national
titles in the javelin throw (2005, 2006), while setting the Mountain West
record of 195'8"
The success of Pounds continued after her graduation, as Irving served
as her personal coach while she took part in the Air Force World Class Athlete
Program (WCAP). The champion of the 2007 U.S. National Outdoor Track and Field
Championships, Pounds was a member of the Team USA squad that competed at the
world championships that year and finished second at the 2008 U.S. Olympic
He coached seven of the 10 NCAA Division I All-Americans for all
women's sports at the Academy, including Pounds (2004, 2005, 2006 javelin),
Olivia Korte (2006 discus) and Sara Neubauer (2009, 2010 discus; 2009 shot
put), while leading Neubauer to the shot put title at the U.S. Junior National
Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2007.
Irving coached 12 of the Academy's female Mountain West champions (all
sports), highlighted by six individuals who combined for 11 throwing titles
(Dominique Boivin - 2003 discus; Pounds - 2004, 2005, 2006 javelin; Korte -
2007 discus; Neubauer - 2010 indoor shot put, 2010 outdoor shot put, 2010
weight throw, 2010 discus; Katie Weber - 2010 javelin; Paige Blackburn - 2012
javelin). In addition, he was the event coach for Ana-Maria Ortega when she won
the conference title in the pole vault during the 2001 season.
On the men's side, Irving-coached athletes accounted for nine Mountain
West titles. Three Falcons combined for four javelin titles, including Joe
Bonner (2000), Tim Fritz (2002, 2003) and Matt Schwandt (2007), while Robert
Drye claimed back-to-back first-place finishes in the hammer throw (2011, 2012)
and Anthony Park swept the long jump titles at the 2004 indoor and outdoor
conference championship meets. In addition, David Lissy won the shot put at the
2008 MW Indoor Championships.
The throwers on the men's team have outscored all other teams at the
Mountain West Championships on three occasions (2008 indoors, 2001 outdoors,
2013 outdoors). The men tallied a record 55 points in the throwing events at
the MW Outdoor Championships, highlighted by seven all-MW selections (Brian
Ford - hammer, discus; James Chambers - discus, shot put; Garrett Griffin -
javelin; Grant Hamilton - shot put).
In 2011, Cole became the first member of the men's throwing program to
garner All-America recognition, receiving Honorable Mention status after
advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus throw.
Irving has coached countless Academy record holders. In addition to
the throwing marks in the indoor and outdoor shot put (men: Shawn Johnson,
women: Neubauer), discus throw (men: James Cole, women: Korte), javelin throw
(men: Bonner, women: Pounds), weight throw (men: William Kent, women:
Blackburn) and hammer throw (men: Drye; women: Neubauer), Irving also coached
Park and Chris Banks in 2004 when they respectively set the Academy records in
the indoor and outdoor triple jump.
During his tenure, 12 athletes have earned All-Academic Team honors
from the U.S. Track and Field and
Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), with Ford (2013) being the most
recent honoree for student-athletes that boast a strong GPA and advanced to the
NCAA Championship meet. In addition, Pounds was recognized as the Female
Collegiate Athlete of the Year by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and
Kent was awarded the Mountain West and NCAA Sportsmanship Awards in 2013.
Irving was twice recognized
as the NCAA Division I Women's Assistant Coach of the Year (2009, 2010) by the USTFCCCA.
The members of his 2007 and 2010 women's throwing teams were recognized by
Sportswomen of Colorado, Inc., while Irving received a Career Achievement Award
from the organization in 2013. In addition, he was honored as the Lifetime
Instructor of the Semester for Physical Education (fall 2003, fall 2012).
"It has indeed been an
incredible honor to coach with the likes of Ralph Lindeman, Juli Benson, Scott
Steffan, Allen Johnson, Mark Stanforth, Bob Graf and Ron White," Irving said.
"I would also like to thank all the volunteer coaches, too numerous to mention,
who have helped elevate the throwing events, the pole vault and entire
"Personally, I'll miss Scott
as a friend, colleague, collaborator and confidant," Lindeman continued. "He's
someone that I've shared values with, as well as countless conversations
through the years in our efforts to not only optimize our athletes' results on
the field, but to develop leaders of character for the Air Force and our
country. While he can be proud of the accomplishments of his many athletes, I
think he can be most proud of that fact."
Irving voiced the same
sentiment, when he stated that "winning and records are tremendous, but the
bottom line is helping develop officers of character, who will protect and
defend our great nation."
Following his retirement, Irving and his wife, Allyn, will split their
time between Fort Garland, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz. The recipient of an art
history master's from Northwestern, Irving looks forward to pursuing his love
of art by creating bronze sculptures with a track and field emphasis.
Scott Irving's Biography